Saturday, November 01, 2008

341. An Exploration of Variation in Halloween Humanoid Hypermorphologies: UCSB Grad Student Subsample

Slideshow of Variation of Halloween Humanoid Morphologies. October 31, 2008.
Spidey the Arachnolantern! Winner of the UCSB EEMB BEERS contest. By my friend Brian--who lives with the Great Ceramics-ist, Scott Chatenever. I guess Brian and Scott have synergized their lives to very high artistic standards, even with pumpkin-based ceramics! You cannot tell from this angle, but the the combination of traits: 8 legs and the location of the eyes and fangs were Biologically Correct. An honorable mention in my mind was a pumpkin that was carved with high precision of an immensely charismatic human face. The other pumpkins had levels of originality (including the drunken-Isla-Vista-student-o-lantern), but less precision and detail in carving efforts--which, to the standards of a biologist (like myself), are highly desired.
The Scarecrow with No Brain from the Wizard of Oz. Not to mention, that this is Kyle Meisterling, the Birthday Boy. Big 3.0. and my enviroexistentialist housemate who puts up with my philosophical rants the most. Or maybe he's just home more often and he's an easy victim to prey upon. Hmmmm. Nah. Kyle is a thinker! Amen he has a sympathetic ear! Anyhow, it's contrast to him "not having a brain," but I think he has done a superb job posing as if he truly DIDN'T have a brain! (Ph.D. Student, energy and policy, Carnegie Mellon, Housematey on Hillview).
Accidents can lead to Great Pictures! I had four blurry shots of The Scarecrow. Put them all together and Voila! Dynamics of Hypermorphologies with No Brains!
Dorothy and Toto. Epically Cute! I think this is the winner photograph for Cuteness! Lisa Berry already has so many wonderful attributes of Dorothy, that all you have to do is buy a blue dress and place some pigtails! Lisa has been such a great "housemate:" she lives here but she doesn't. Too long to explain. She's been very helpful with connections around campus for research and just great to talk to. Lisa, Kyle, and Karl are all quite mellow, low-stress people, who always seem to dampen my states of high anxiety. They are chronic reminders I need to take a chill pill! As for Mini Miss Einstein, there is a most wonderful book to be written about her. I was telling my friend, Becca, about how if graduate school doesn't work out, I would be making a Zed Card for Mini and promote her around Hollywood (along with Kyle and Lisa!). (Ph.D. graduate Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management under Dr. Oran Young, Engineering Degree at UCSB 1997).

This is the Lion with No Courage, though Karl Rittger managed to show chronic bouts of courage for the entire evening, like dodge through the kitchen amidst packs of humans to retrieve and devour his scrumptious choco-granola-brownie! Karl is an avid bouldering/rock climber and dirt biker. If I were less stressed out and had more time, I would most certainly be joining the fun! Karl and Kyle were apparently roommates as freshmen at Brown University... and a decade later... talk about tight friends! Karl, Kyle, and Lisa have been very close friends before I came into the house, so it's nice to have a closely knit community already built. Not just a random aggregate of housemates (Ph.D. student Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, under Dr. Jeff Dozier, Snow Hydrology Buff, housematey on Hillview).

If we had an official Tin Man, there would have been a Complete Cast in the household. I could have potentially assumed that role. It appears that I have sampled a Monoculture of Wizard-of-Oz characters, which has reduced the breadth of morphological variation in specimens. I am hypothesizing that "Genetic" Drift has operated to create some form of "Morphological Locking" effects.

The other sampling concern is that I was unable to capture all Hypermorphologies at the party. At least 5 photographic samples were not taken. My science experiment is quickly becoming moot.
Brandon is a Boy Scout with an Underlying Identity, to which I will not elaborate here simply because I messed up at the party in terms of trying to explain his Hypermorphology to other people. I am hoping this image can explain enough! Brandon was a Boy Scout in real life, and also a piano player, college radio DJ, and an Engineer Ph.D. graduate at Carnegie-Mellon. He's now post-doc-ing at UC Santa Barbara in Industrial Ecology (with Dr. Roland Geyer), investigating the cycling (and recycling) of plastics in California (I might be messing up the facts again)!
We were both tired of Halloween Party Hopping (most particularly me, in which I mentioned that when "people" become "a slushpile of human flesh," it's now time to go home). We ended up hanging out and having coffee at a Starbucks off Victoria and State Street, where I saw Jill Sattler (epic artist, I have to go back and show her some of my ideas). It was a very pleasant experience to have some one-on-one conversation, because parties can become really demeaning and slapstick. *Sigh.*
Most Political Outfit. Visually Bursting Display with the Coloration and the Fro But most timely. I feel horrible to forget the name of this Post Doc in the Geography Department who is housed at Bren on the Fourth Floor (where I technically live, I mean, an office at least). I wouldn't mind getting a t-shirt like that!
Brian is of an Unidentified Morphology. Potentially a Homeless Clown who Had Too Much to Drink and Couldn't Put His Make-up on Right. Other than that, he's a really cool neighbor and friend of ours. Graduate of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Works at Channel 17 with filming some shows involving music and local bands!
It's funny to think how my perception of the Hillview Dr. Neighborhood has changed over the course of the year. At first I hated living out here because I didn't feel a sense of community and was far away from school. Now?!! I know a lot of my neighbors, to which a couple of them are Writer Buddies, and my mind has essentially "Built a Community of Contacts" out in the boonies or Avocado Groves of Goleta. I love it here! Not to mention the rent is cheap and the house I live in is ideally designed: with the "communal rooms" downstairs and the "individual rooms" upstairs. You essentially have a microcosmos of choice (with microgeographic barriers) to decide whether you want to work by yourself or Take a Social Pill downstairs!

Becca Selden the NASA Rocketship. Even humanoids can take forms of Pieces of Technology! I think there was an informal, general consensus that Becca won for Most Creative Halloween Hypermorphology! Becca is a new Ph.D. student under Drs. Steve Gaines and Bob Warner. We randomly met on Graduate Student Orientation Day (in which 800 new graduate students were shoved into Campbell Hall to hear a glorious set of speeches on "Welcome to the Establishment" and "Graduate Students are High Risk Groups"), but out of 800 students, I feel lucky--like I won the lottery--to meet Becca! I am not sure of her age, early 20s?, but she is very mature and very hard-working, and has very high standards and goals... and it's wonderful to have a friend who Shoots for the Stars! Or to the Moon and Back! (Those were her pick-up lines for the evening). Becca also plays some really cool sports--like hockey and soccer. She was recently certified in research scuba diving!
This strange humanoid by the name of Victoria decided to become Pimp Fyzzle for the evening, an underlying Identity that had been formulating in the back of her brain the last few months. Her credentials are Pimp Fyzzle, Ecopistemologist. Essentially became a Female Wannabe Ali G for the evening--except minus the bombardment of Tee-hee sex jokes. The Composition of the Wardrobe was most notoriousy the pink and purple fuzzy hat (donated from my Aunt Jean, who wore this hat to Halloween at the elementary school she works at in Anaheim Hills), the flowy shirt from Momma the Persian grandmother to which Victoria worked for three months in Mission Viejo (spring 2007), and a Bling Bling from Washington Mutual, who was tabling out at UCSB even though that very same day the company was bought out by... Chase? The Pimp Fyzzle character goes back to the days of hanging out with Tariel, Brian, and Charlie out in Mission Canyon. Brian's brother is a part of a Ronchy Rock Band in San Francisco called Spandex Tiger (which may now be affiliated with a Ronchy Rock Band in Los Angeles called Steel Panther), and the Pink-and-Purple Fuzzy Hat Fit Snug-as-a-Glove into the Wardrobe of Spandex Tiger. As wearing that hat annexed Victoria into Official Spandex Tiger Fanmanship. Or FanChickship. That was back in the day.... I am SOOO tired of writing in third person. Screw consistency!

My Gosh! I never pose as some dumb, kocky butthead, but here I am, being Pimp Fyzzle, kocky as ever. Geez. No, I'm just being protective of my peeps. I was being a Pimp for Everyone around me. I am wondering whether I did my job well. But the issue was that as a Pimp I was also designated driver and could not drink. So, that might have made myself a more boring Pimp Fyzzle than I would have liked to be. I have to work on my British Accent. Next time!
At least there is one day of the year I can come out of the Closet and Fully Express Myself!
Below was written Last Night ~*~*~
Sometimes, life happens such that my mind is so tired it has no capacity to synthesize reality through words, but more so through a sequence of images. It is in part superb, but also simultaneously tragic that Halloween occurred on a Friday--at the end of a chaotic week. My processing abilities were reduced to zilch. I felt like I was just "being" and not extraordinarily conscious of my Halloween experiences.

Nevertheless, I assigned myself to be a Sober Driver--a.k.a. a Jedi for the Common Good of the UCSB Graduate Community--and instead of becoming intoxicated with alcohol, I decided to become intoxicated through intellectualism and imagery. So... I took pictures, in attempt to take a random subsample of the variation of humanoid hypermorphologies during Halloween--the one day where we can all be our true selves and not place a face that society desires us to hold. I had just been reimmersed with great knowledge of Dr. Sam Sweet in micro-evolution, and based on my tendencies of population sub-sampling, I had come to realize that my population size is quite small. It is perhaps highly subject to genetic drift. There was not too much gene flow within the birthday/Halloween party of Kyle Meisterling. And there were not any particular environmental gradients that selected against any form of morphologies. All humanoid creatures (and fellow canine friends) seemed to co-exist and flourish in a most amiable, symbiotic of relationships.

However, I feel fortunate to have collected a subsample (though a very inadequately sized subsample), even though it may not contribute to any scientific significance to understanding more generic properties of Halloween Humanoid Morphologies, nevertheless the behavioral tendencies of UCSB graduate students and affiliated specimens (ha ha).

I do greatly appreciate this experience: it has made me come to realize how fortunate I am to have the housemates that I do have! I can live and work and party all in my own home! I don't have to forage for any "missing needs." Imagine all the possible scenarios where I could have landed in a Disastrous Housing Condition! And look! My housemates are my friends! Talk about being struck by lightning--in a good sense--like winning the lottery type-of-good.
This scientific data collection practices render this Experiment as Pleasurably Moot! Oh well, I tried! Next year!

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